by Mark Kidd

Pure Storage FlashArray 300 Series Available Now

Pure Storage has announced general availability of its new all-flash storage series. The FlashArray 300 series is designed for high performance workloads including server virtualization, desktop virtualization (VDI), database (OLTP, real-time analytics) and cloud computing. This announcement marks the end of the Early Adopter Program, Pure Storage’s two-year effort to field-test the FlashArray 300 Series.

Pure Storage has announced the over 100 “Early Adopter” partners achieved on average 5.8-to-1 reduction in their data usage with help from FlashArray’s deduplication and compression algorithms. Additional advances for the platform include always-on encryption with zero key management, a new web interface, command line interface, and VMware vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI) support.

The other major benefit of the Pure Storage solution is around cost. Thanks to what Pure Storage calls FlashCare and backing from Samsung, Pure is able to leverage low-cost MLC SSDs in their array, instead of enterprise-grade drives. This allows Pure Storage to offer their arrays at pricing levels that simply can't be approached by most other flash-based storage solutions in the enterprise market. There are other benefits as well though, like non-blocking reads and writes, background optimization and support for mis-matched SSDs.

New Features in FlashArray 2.0

  • Active/active high availability: Multiple storage controllers are clustered via InfiniBand for high availability, allowing for active/active IO handling on all ports of all controllers. FlashArray provides non-disruptive operations by healing around hardware component failures, including a complete failure of a FlashArray controller. All storage components are hot-swappable (controllers, flash drives, NV-RAM modules) for replacement of failed components without downtime.
  • FlashCare Technology: Pure Storage leverages standard MLC memory to lower costs while specifying reliability and latency comparable to SLC flash, achieved through IO management techniques including an SSD-optimized data layout, wear leveling, geometry-aligned writes, and IO micro-scheduling with QoS monitoring and non-blocking reads & writes. FlashCare enables the array to sustain years of multi-100,000-write IOPS workloads while maintaining sub-millisecond latency.
  • Enhanced Data Integrity Fabric: One of flash’s drawbacks is a higher bit error rate than rotational disks. FlashArray implements a multi-layer Data Integrity Fabric, which combines overlapping user block-level and array page-level checksums with continuous background analysis to detect and heal data integrity issues automatically, extending data protection beyond the ECC that runs within each SSD.
  • Always-on encryption with zero key management: FlashArray encrypts all data stored within the array, protecting from the theft or loss of SSDs. Encryption has zero performance impact, and leverages a built-in key generation and management scheme that requires no end-user key management.
  • VMware vStorage API for Array Integration (VAAI) support: FlashArray now supports the VMware VAAI APIs with vSphere 5.0, supporting write-same/block zeroing, ATS, UNMAP and thin provisioning.
  • New web GUI and CLI: FlashArray now features an enhanced web management GUI and CLI designed to simplify RAID configuration, space reclamation, setting tiering policies, carving LUNs, and performance troubleshooting for spindle contention. The GUI enables single-click storage provisioning and provides performance analytics. FlashArray is DevOps ready with a CLI designed for scripting and automation for complete management of the system.

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